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JUNE 16, 1906. 




Class _ 

Book, ■ B%r3 


Mr. CJui'irriKfn, Friends and Fellow Cithens of Bm'liixjton : 
1 have felt some embarassment and much sense of 
incapacity in attempting to prepare and dehver a sketch of 
the history of a town of which I have never been myself 
a resident. One who has been brought up in a community 
has a familiar acquaintance with the locality, with the old 
homes and the old families, with the old traditions and 
legends, which makes it easy for him to understand the 
written materials that he may find, to put them into their 
proper place and read much between the lines, and which 
will naturally save him from the blunders into which a 
stranger may easily fall. 

But since your committee thought that they had no one 
more available, I was glad to undertake the pleasant task, 
'f I am not a son of Burlington, I may at least claim, since 
Turlington and Bristol are sister towns, to be a nephew. 
\nd I trust that you may see before I am through that I 
may well take pride in claiming civic cousinship with many 
of the distinguished sons of Burlington. 

A local historian need not altogether deplore the fact 
that he is thrown upon the manuscript records for most of 
his early knowledge. In reading the original acts of the 
settlers themselves, recorded in their own language and 
handwriting, one comes to realize the hardship of their 
conditions, and the rugged resolution of their temper, far 
more than he could do by trusting to any later narrative. 
The early records of an old New England community are. 
refreshing to read after one has, in the reports of some 
Home Missionary Society, read the appeals for the evangel- 
ization and uplifting of the pioneer West. There \-ou may 

read how a community of five hundred people, expectincx 
soon to be a city of ten thousand, has two theaters five 
dance halls and twenty saloons, and that they will provide 
a small room over a saloon and permit their children to 
attend Sunday school, if the people of the East will provide 
and pay a missionary. 

But coming back to our own past, we find a handful of 
pioneers, living in log-houses in the forest, voting to establish 
schools and to provide for the preaching of the Gospel 
laymg upon themselves taxes, to be paid in grain or in labor 
if there is no money, to set up these two pillars of the New 
England community, and holding divine service in their own 
houses and barns until they can provide a humble meetincr. 
house. No wonder that from these little towns of New 
England have gone out great currents of religious and 
intellectual, political and commercial leadership, to make of 
the United States the Christian, cultured and free nation 
that it is. 

Our present information about the first settlement of 
Burlington is rather vague and scanty. 
^ The settlement of the mother town of Farmington began 
in 1640, and it was incorporated in 1645. In 1672 the 
General Court fixed the length of Farmington at fifteen 
miles from north to south, and its width at eleven miles 
westerly from the Hartford line. The town at once laid out 
the part of this tract on which settlement had already been 
made, four miles and sixty-four rods wide, as "the reserved 
land," and the wilderness to the west in six tiers, eleven 
miles long and about a mile wide, besides 20, 30 and 40-rod 
highways between the tiers, each of which tiers was to be 
divided between the proprietors in proportion to their own- 
ership of home land. The westerly five tiers of this layout 
constitute substantially the present towns of Burlington and 
Bristol. The lines of this allotment were not actually run 
out upon the land till 1721, and the survey was not com- 
pleted till 1728.' Meantime the rough hills of Burlington 
and Bristol continued to be known as Farmington West 
Woods and the Great Forest. Occasional special grants 





were made of small tracts, but none of it was permanenth' 
settled till 1727 and 1728, when the settlement of Bristol 
beg'an. Burlinijjton was a little later. "A lar<:;^e bounty in 
lands was offered by the town to the first settler," says 
President Porter, and in 1740 "a man by the name of Strong- 
went o\'er the line into the border of the woods and made 
a clearing-."" 

This is a most unceremonious mention of Col. John 
Strong, Justice of the Peace. Thirty-four years later, when 
news of the Boston Port Bill reached Farmington, and a 
meeting \\ as called to express the sentiments of the town, 
and to appoint committees of relief and correspondence. 
Col. Strong, then probably an elderly man, uas moderator 
• of a great meeting which filled the new meeting-house.' He 
died in 1776 or 1777."' His son, Simeon Strong, was a Major 
in the Revolutionary war, and died in the service in 
1776.' Col. Strong in 1744 added to his ownership of Bur- 
lington land by bu}'ing. 261 acres of land in two pur- 
chases.'' When the society of West Britain was incorpor- 
ated, the act read " saving and excepting John Strong, 
Esq., and Simeon Strong, his son, and their improved 
lands."' The land occupied by them is that where Adrian 
Moses now lives, and that farm continued, by the above 
exception, to be a part of P^armington society. But in 1789 
the West Britain society voted to send agents to the Gen- 
eral Court " to git the Wider Mary Strong farm * ^ Enext 
to the Parish of West Britton,'" and in this they were 

During the next generation a meager tide of settlement 
set in from many directions and to several parts of the 
town. And here I may perhaps appropriately say that it 
seems to me that the history of Burlington has been much 
affected by its topography. Johnnycake Mountain on the 
west, and the high hills in the center and east, have been 
rather too formidable for settlement even to the present 
time. The more habitable valleys have been on the outskirts 
of the town, and so little communities have grown up, 
separated by distance and by difficulty of travel, and con- 

nected more with other villages than with each other. Even 
to this day, Whigville is connected in many ways with Bris- 
tol, and North Burlington with New Hartford and with 
Collinsville, rather than with Burlington center. 

Between 1 740 and 1755 a number of settlers had come 
into different parts of the town : Enos Lewis, Asa Yale, 
John Wiard, Joseph Bacon and Joseph Lankton to the 
western part ; Abraham and Theodore Pettibone, men of 
wealth and influence from Simsbury, to the extreme north ; 
Samuel Brockway to the east ; Titus and Nathaniel 
Bunnell and Joseph Smith to the southwest. Abraham 
Brooks had come from Milford to what has ever since been 
known as Milford Street before 1773 ; on January i8th, 
1773, he deeded to Justus Webster of Middletown one 
hundred and twelve acres of land with a barn thereon. A 
few years after a little group of Milford settlers, Abijah 
Gillett, Thomas Beach and Joshua Curtiss, followed Mr. 
Brooks. Two adjoining farms in this section, those of 
Justus Webster and of Abijah Gillett, are still occupied by 
the descendants of the original settlers. 

About 1774 Simeon Hart came from Southington, and 
settled at first in the southeastern part of the town, but soon 
removed to the geographical center. While he was build- 
ing his first barn, the work was interrupted and the town 
thrown into excitement by the news that a battle had taken 
place between Massachusetts farmers and British troops at 
Lexington. Zebulon Cole and Zebulon Frisbie were prob- 
ably ahead of him as settlers in the center, and these three 
men became most prominent in the early life of the com- 
munity. Simeon Hart was chosen Justice of the Peace by 
the General Court in May, i779,Mie was one of the first 
deacons of the Congregational church, and when the town 
of Bristol was formed he was one of its first board of 
selectmen, and its first representative to the General Court. 
His wife died on January iith, 1800; after her funeral in 
the church, Mr. Hart felt unable to go to the cemetery, and 
returned home. As he entereci the vacant house, he fell 
dead. Mrs. Hart's body was thereupon brought back to the 

house, and on the following day thi.')' were buried in one 
gra\'e. His third son inherited his name, and also his dis- 
tinction as a public man. He was chosen town clerk eleven 
years in succession, and was for thirty or more years Justice 
of the Peace. Bliss Hart, second son of Simeon, Sr., was 
was also a Justice, and many times elected Representative.'" 

The houses of Zebulon Cole and Zebulon Frisbie, both 
in "Shin Hollow," about half a mile southeast of here, were 
called taverns, which probably means little more than that 
they kept a supply of New England rum to sell to the 
neighbors and had house and barn room enough to lodge 
an occasional stranger and his horse ; and the meetings of 
the ecclesiastical society were for many years usually held 
at one or the other of these two houses. There was not 
then thought to be any great incompatibility between spir- 
ituous and spiritual refreshment. One of the early town 
meetings, held in tiie meeting house, was adjourned for 
fifteen minutes to the house of Zebulon Frisbie ; whether 
this meant that they were to go on with the meeting there, 
or that a visit of fifteen minutes to the tavern would add to 
the spirit of the meeting, I do not know. 

One very singular body of settlers to find in an old New 
England town was a company of Seventh Day Baptists 
who, for some reason I cannot give, came to the north part 
of the town from Hopkinton, R. I. Prominent among these 
were three families named Covey, from whom this part of 
the town received the name of Coveytown, which is still 
sometimes heard ; although after the church there died out, 
and the clock factories brought in a population of less pious 
men than the original settlers, it received the unflattering 
name of Heathenville. 

It is hard for us to realize the hard and stern conditions 
that confronted these early settlers. The first houses were 
log cabins made from the trunks of the trees that were cut 
to make a clearing ; and such timber as was not needed for 
the house or barn was burned in huge piles to clear the 
ground for plowing. There wei"e for a good while no roads 
at all in the modern sense ; only trails or bridle paths which 

a man on foot or on horseback could follow. In w inter 
communication was often difficult or impossible, and the 
severity of the forest cold, the imperfect protection afforded 
by the houses, and the isolation of life, must have made it a 
time to try to the utmost the fortitude of men, and the very 
powers of endurance of women and little children. 

One sentence from William Marks's chronicle is a vivid 
reminder of the hardship of life in the winter forest. " As 
early as 1763, Nathaniel Bunnell was found frozen to death 
in the West mountain, standing besicie a tree with a gun in 
his hand." 

Nothing is more pathetic in looking through an 
eighteenth century New England grave)'ard than to note 
the early date at which the women died, most of them 
apparently before their fortieth year ; and any collection of 
family records of that time shows an appalling record of 
the deaths of infants. 

As I have said, most of the first settlers lived for a time 
at least in log-houses, but frame houses soon began to take 
their place. We can form some judgment as to what were 
the better and larger houses by the places where the society 
held its early meetings. 

The first meeting of which we have the record was held 
at John Wiard's, in May, 1775 ; it was then voted to hold 
the next annual meeting at Samuel Brockway's, and the 
preaching services at Zebulon Cole's. In December, 1776, 
it was voted "to hire Six Saboth Preaching two att mr John 
Wiards three att mr Abijah Gilletts and one att mr Matthias 
Leamings" ; in July, 1777, " to continue the Preaching att 
mr Wiards and mr Gilletts Untill frisbees hous is fit for to 
meet in," and in October, 1777, "to meet for Publick Avor- 
ship att the hous of mr Frisbees as long as the Committ> e 
Obtain it and When they Cant to Meet att mr Wiards and 
mr Gilletts Every other Saboth." 

The next vote, in August, 1778, was "to Meet one half 
of the time att Mr Gilletts & the other half att mr Wood- 
ruffs Hous" (Asa Woodruff 'lived on the turnpike, a mile or 
so northwest of the present center), and the next, in March, 

1/79' " t'^^ meet in Capt. Simeon Hearts Barn * * Venture- 
ing the Barn if Burnt on the saboth if it Cant be Recovered 
out of the Person fiering the same." 

After this time, the business meetings were all held at 
either Zebulon Cole's or Zebulon Frisbie's, until the meet- 
ing house was able to be used. 

All these houses are now gone. It seems not to be 
quite certain what is the oldest house now standing. The 
house built by Simeon Hart, now occupied by Manzer S. 
Brockett, which was for so long the fountain head of law 
and justice for this section, bears on its chimney the date, 
nearly obliterated, 1 780. 

The house of the first minister, Jonathan Miller, now 
occupied by Ernest N. Witham, whose gambrel roof and 
dormer windows show its ancient distinction as the minis- 
ter's house, was probably built soon after his settlement 
ill 1783. 

The Dr. Mann house, nearly opposite the Jonathan 
Miller house, and the one between that and the Simeon 
Hart house, built by Marcus Hart, were both erected 
before 1800. " 

Mrs. Ralph Humphrey has in her attic a stone from the 
old chimney of her house, bearing its date and builder's 
name, Eliahi- Covey, 1789. 

The stone house built by John Fuller, and now owned 
by Cyrus Curtis at the base of Chippen's Hill, and the two 
houses built by Thomas Brooks, now owned by Sasnuel 
Lampson, and the other by Sherman Scoville, are all said to 
hai^e been built about 1800. 

Another of the older houses is the one northeast of 
Whigville, built by Lieut. Amos Smith probably before 
1800, and owned by his descendants many years. On the 
road between this house and the turnpike J. C. Hart 
eimmerates fourteen houses standing a century ago. Before 
1855, every one of these houses had gone except the Smith 
house which still remains, and the road is now hardly pass- 
able. This section was known as Clark City. 

But I am inclined to think that the Webster house on 

Milford street is older than any of these, and is the oldest 
house in Burhngton. Justus Webster bought this land ii-» 
January, 1773, and is said by his descendants to have built 
two log cabins before he built the present house. The first 
one was east of the road, and was so small that the children 
had to sleep in the barn, and were awakened by the wolves. 
In May, 1775, the society voted to have preaching at the 
house of Justus Webster, but later reconsidered this and 
substituted Zebulon Cole's. It is a matter of conjecture, 
but I venture a strong opinion that the frame house now 
standing and used by George Webster was built before 1780. 

In 1774, the little community felt strong enough to seek 
a measure of self-government, and its petition was presented 
to the General Court, setting forth that there were about 
seventy-five families here, of which over fifty \\ere of the 
standmg denomination, that is, were Congregationalists, 
while a few were Episcopalians and " Saturday men ; " that 
the grand list was over £3,500, of which over £2,500 
belonged to the standing order, stating the difficulties of 
going to Farmington for their gospel privileges, especially 
in the winter, and praying for incorporation as a society. 
The original petition may be seen at the state library, with 
the signatures of thirty-three of the inhabitants.' - 

This petition was at once granted. As Farmington's 
southern colony had, twenty years before, been named New- 
Britain, with loyal pride in their British ancestry and 
allegiance, so this western offshoot was named West Britain. 

The chief functions of an ecclesiastical society in chose 
days was to provide for the worship of God according to 
the established Congregational order, and to establish and 
maintain schools. But Burlington is unique among Con- 
necticut towns in that a dissenting and irregular form of 
religion had established itself here in advance of the ortho- 
dox and lawful Congregationalism. I have already men- 
tioned the Seventh-Day Baptists who colonized the northern 
part of the town from Rhode Island. They remained a 
part of the Hopkinton church for a time, and that church 
ordained Rev. John Davis to minister to the West Britain 


colony. But in 1780 the mother church commissioned their 
pastor and deacon to organize an independent church at 
West Britain, and on September 1 8th of that year a church 
of twenty-one persons, eleven men and ten women, was 
gathered together. Then, as the formal minutes declare, 
" they unanimosly agreed and in a solom and afectionate 
maner covananted to watch ever over one another for good 
and to Bare Burdens togather for the suport and mantaing 
the cause of christ and where willing to be Established a 
church in feloship with this church and chose Elder John 
Davis to be there Elder & Benjamin West to be there 
Deacon & Elisha Covey for there Clark."'' 

Of these twenty-one members, seven were Coveys and 
five Davises. This little church seems to have enjoyed the 
respect and friendship of the Congregationalists ; indeed 
one of the earliest society votes, passed December 22nd, 
1775, was as follows : " Voted that those of the Seventh 
Day Babtis Perswation Should Be Exemted from Paying 
ministors Rates By Perduceing a Citificate from an ordaind 
Elder to the Societeyes Clark that they are of that Perswa- 
tion." Between that time and 181 1, twenty-eight such 
certificates were recorded by the clerk. 

They held their services in private houses (of course on 
Saturday) until 1800,. when they built a church in the north 
part of the village ; this building was standing till after the 
middle of the century, in the triangular fork of the roads, a 
little over a mile north of here. 

Elder Davis ministered over this church until his death 
in 1792, after him Rev. Amos Burdick and Rev. Amos 
Stillman, both chosen from the membership of the local 
church. Mr. Stillman died in 1807, and the church had no 
settled pastor after him I'^many of its members removed to 
New York state, and joined a Seventh Day Baptist com- 
munity there. Those who remained went to other churches, 
and the organization faded out of existence. The building 
stood vacant and abandoned until it fell into ruin. 

Appendix B is an interesting reminder of the existence 
and of the peculiar tenets of this little church. 


But let us return to the history of the regular society. 
As I have said, it was incorporated in 1774, and its existing 
records begin in April, 1775. In the following May it was 
voted to hire preaching till December, and in 1776 also six 
months preaching was engaged. A Mr. Hutcheson and a 
Mr. Tuller (or Fuller) were the ministers employed. Ezia 
Yale, Samuel Brockway and Jude Clark were chosen chor- 
isters, and Ebenezer Hamblin and Joseph Bacon to read 
the psalm. 

Mr. John Camp, Mr. Seth Swift and a Mr. Cook are 
afterward mentioned as preachers, and Mr. Camp's services 
were so acceptable that in 1780 the society offered him the 
pastorate, with a salary to gradually rise from £45 to i'6o, 
"all in hard Quoin or Grane Equivilent," and a settlement 
of £140 payable in three years, £110 "in hard Quoin," 
and £30 " in Labour at hard money Price." 

This reference to hard coin reminds us that we are now in 
the height of the Revolutionary struggle, when the ordinary 
currency was greatly depreciated paper. How little the 
Continental money was worth is shown by the fact that 
when Mr. Camp declined the society's call, they paid him 
about $2200 for eleven weeks preaching and board ; truly a 
munificent compensation if the money in which it was paid 
had been worth anything ! 

Later in 1780 a Mr. Chapman, and in 1782 Mr. Reuben 
Parmely, a Yale classmate of Mr. Miller, preached for a 
time ; but in December, 1782, we find the vote " that the 
Committee should apply to Mr. Jonathan Miller to Preach 
til the parish order other ways." He continued to preach 
to the people, evidently to their great satisfaction, during 
that Spring, and in May they invited him to settle with 
them in the ministry. They offered him, after some nego- 
tiation, a salary which began at £60, but was to increase 
until it should be £80 per year. They also gave him a set- 
tlement of €200, which I think was paid by building for him 
the house already mentioned. 

Before speaking further of him, let us go back to the 
other prime necessit}' of the infant church, a meeting-house. 


There is no evidence of any dissension over the choice of 
the minister, but as to the location of the meeting-house it 
was far different. Lots were offered the society on the east 
and on the west side ; two committees were sent by the 
County Court, one of which reported in favor of the east 
side, and the other for the west side. Many pages in the 
record book are filled with votes to accept the site fixed, to 
reconsider and reject it, and to reconsider again and accept. 

The Church, Burlington, Conn. 

By the advice of the Bristol and Farmington ministers, 
Samuel Newell and Timothy Pitkin, they sought the advice 
of the ministerial association, but even this brought no har- 
mony. At length, in 1 781, after six years of contention, 
they came to a unanimous agreement on a site " on the 
frount of the hill about 15 Rods south of the dwelling- 
house of Zebulon Coles at a stake Which the Peopple of )'e 
Parish set up." There is a popular legend that they finall)- 
reached an agreement by choosing a committee by whose 
action they agreed to be bound. Landlord Cole was to 
brew a bowl of flip while the committee were gone ; and 
they set the stake directly opposite the Cole house lest they 


should bo too late to get their share of the flip. I decidedly 
prefer the account given in their petition to the General 
Court that after considerable difficulty and disagreeable 
uneasiness they had "lovingly and unanimously agreed." 
J. C. Hart says that the two contending parties agreed to 
unite in leveling the hill by gratuitous labor, and that it cost 
more than one thousand dollars in labor. ^"^ 

Here at last the meeting-house was built ; in what 
is now an open lot south of the road, about half a mile 
southeast of the center, just opposite the branch road from 
the station. The Cole tavern was north of the main road 
and west of the branch to the station. The meeting-house 
was forty feet by thirty-six in size, and there were, by 
society vote, " 24 squares of glace in the meeting House 
winders." In August, 1782, for the first time a society 
meeting was held at the meeting-house ; but it was evidently 
still unfinished, and the meeting appointed a committee to 
" shut up the meeting house except glace and be Paid for 
their Service and Wait for there Pay till January next." 

It is said that this little meeting-house was never finished 
inside, and that the swallows used to make their nests in 
the rafters and often fly in and out during service. The 
congregation might well have sung : 

"The sparrow hath found her an house, 
And the swallow a nest for herself where she may lay her young, 
Even thine altars, O Lord of Hosts, 
My King and my God." 

-Ps. 84:3. 

On July 3rd, 1783, the church was formally organized by 
twenty-six persons entering into a covenant of church fel- 
lowship, and on November 26th, 1783, the meeting-house 
being ready for occupancy, the church organized and the 
pastor called, Mr. Miller was ordained to the pastorate by 
the Rev. Messrs. Samuel Newell of New Cambridge, Tim- 
othy Pitkin of Farmington, John Smalley of New Britain, 
and four other ministers. He had graduated from Yale 
College in the class of 1781, and was twenty-two years old 
on the day of his ordination. 

Then appears to have begun a time of rapid growth and 
prosperity for the community. In the two years 1799 and 


i<Soo fift}'-fivc members were added to the Congrei^rational 
church, the Baptist church also received many additions, 
and, as we shall see, a Methodist church of considerable size 
was being formed, and a group of Episcopalians had also 
grown up. 

Mr. Miller, in his dedicatory sermon in 1809 said : " Thro 
the goodness of God, we have greatly increased in numbers 
& wealth, & now rival the older about us in the comforts 
and conveniences of life. * * * The Lord grant, that we 
may take heed to ourselves against the temptations of pros- 
perity, lest it harden our hearts to the neglect of divine 

The Reverend Jonathan Miller is described by one who 
knew him personally as a powerful and persuasive preacher, 
often called upon to go to other parishes to assist in revival 
services. " He was an extraordinary peacemaker, often 
being sent for sometimes from a distance, to assist in heal- 
ing dnticulties." He was especially esteemed as a teacher, 
and taught the higher branches of education to young men, 
not only of his own parish but from other places. We may 
well ascribe to his influence and the stimulus of his teaching 
the beginning of that quite remarkable line of ministers and 
educators that has gone from Burlington from its earlier 
days down to recent times, of which I shall speak later. 

Mr. Miller was himself born in Torringford, the son of 
Deacon Ebenezer Miller. He was twice married and had 
six children. I may perhaps be pardoned for mentioning 
that one of his daughters, Sophia, married Captain Richard 
Peck of Bristol, my own great uncle, and that Jonathan 
Miller Peck of Bristol and his family are his descendants, 
the only ones, so far as I know, in this vicinity. 

His later years were clouded by a terrible tragedy. 
When b^ tween fifty and sixty years of age, his mind began 
to fail until at last he could not conduct divine service in an 
orderly or regular manner. In 1 821 he was obliged to give 
up the active work of the ministry, but continued tf) live 
lure till his death in 1831. His disease increased and lie 
became at times a raving maniac, though at other times he 


was lucid and appreciated his dreadful situation. There 
was built in his house a wooden pen or cage, to which he 
used to voluntarily go when he felt the attack coming upon 
him. It is said that often the reading to him of his own 
sermons, and the recalling to him of his mother's name and 
love, would exorcise the evil spirit and restore him to 

Rev. Erastus Clapp became colleague to Parson Miller 
in 1823, and remained here six years; Rev. Erastus Scran- 
ton in 1830, and remained ten years. Under Mr. Clapp 
occurred the great revival of 1824, in which ninety-four 
were added to the church. Since then the church has had 
over twenty pastors, only one of whom has served over 
five years. Mr. Scrantoh said in a report in 1835 : 

"It must not be disguised that most of the young men of this town, after they 
come of age, leave us for the great western valley, or for the neighboring towns, 
for the purpose, and in hopes, of bettering their worldly circumstances Hence 
the prospect that the congregation will increase in numbers and ability to support 
the gospel among them is not encouraging. But ought not we to feel that we are 
advancing the interest of Zion in the land, if we are raising up young men and 
women to go to the far west and there aid in supporting the gospel and good prin- 
ciples and good morals ?" i s 

I hope to show before I close that that claim as to the 
work of this church for the nation has been abundantly 

The first little meeting-house was soon outgrown, and in 
1803 the society began plans for a new building. The Gen- 
eral Assembly granted a lottery in aid of this pious enter- 
prise ;'" even with this help the work progressed slowly, and 
the house was not dedicated until January 25th, 1 809. 
I hold in my hand the original manuscript of the dedicatory 
sermon delivered by Parson Miller on that day. The old 
meeting-house was removed to Bristol, and used as a cotton- 
mill. It afterward became the Ingraham clock-case shop, 
and was destroyed by fire in December, 1904. 

The second church was near the first, but north of the 
main road, and just east of the branch to the station. Its 
foundations and corners can still be plainly seen upon the 
ground. It was forty by sixty feet in size, the length of the 
building being from east to west, with a detached tower ten 
feet square and of considerable height at the west end ; the 


pulpit was on the north side; the south and east entrances 
may still be plainly seen. The church was furnished with 
the old-fashioned square family pews, and these were seated 
or "dignified " as in all the churches of the time, by a com- 
mittee which assigned to the head of each family a pew 
suited to his official rank, wealth and social consideration. 

Stocks and whipping-post stood in front of the site of 
the old church. Mr. Seth Keeney says:"*" The last victim, 
about 1830, was an old man sentenced for a petty offense. 
It was a cold day, and he had to stand at the post two 
hours before receiving his ten lashes. He complained bit- 
terly of the delay. He was afterward an exemplary church 
member." We may observe that this result does not invari- 
ably follow the imprisonment or fine imposed for like 
offenses today. 

This meeting-house was taken down in 1836, and rebuilt 
of a little smaller size on the site where it still stands ; and 
where with its renovation just completed it seems to have 
taken on again the freshness and charm of youth. 

The history of other churches deserves more space than 
we can well give to them, especially that of the Methodist 

Itinerant preachers of the Methodist church visited the 
town as early as 1787, and in 1788 a "class " was formed, of 
A\hich Abraham Brooks was the first member. After 1800, 
services were held every other Sunday, at first in the south- 
west schoolhouse, and afterward when the weather permitted 
out-of-doors, the schoolhouse being too small to accommo- 
date the worshippers. " The first camp-meeting held in 
Burlington was held a little west of the stone house."''' 

In 1809, the church rented a large dwelling-house near 
the school, called the Bunnell house, tore out the partitions 
so as to throw the entire first story together, and finished it 
with pulpit and seats. This accommodated the people till 
1 8 16, when still more room was needed, and the building 
now standing at the center and used as a town hall was 
built. It was placed east of the south cemetery; but the 
cemeter}-, which never ceases to grow though the comniunit}' 


of the living may, has now extended over its former site. 
It is said that Smith Tuttle, who used to act as a local 
preacher, was buried as nearly as possible under the place 
where the pulpit stood at the north end of this church, and 
that the grave of William Marks is exactly at the southern 
entrance; and I may add that the length indicated by these 
two grave-stones agrees with the actual dimensions of the 

In the same year Burlington was made a circuit. For 
the following twenty years this was one of the strong Meth- 
odist churches of the state, and was the only one for a 
radius of some fifteen miles. People came to its services 
from Bristol, Plymouth, Harwinton, New Hartford, Farming- 
ton and other towns. To quote again from Mr. Keeney : 
" There were no pews, only long benches, the men sitting on 
the west side and the women on the east side. The bo)'s 
occupied the west gallery and the girls the east one. A 
tithing man also occupied the boys' gallery on occasion. 
Many famous ministers in the denomination preached in 
this old church." 

But the growth of the Methodist church at large 
wrought to the disadvantage of this local church. Churches 
were established in neighboring towns, and especially the 
church at Bristol, organized in 1834, took a large number 
who had been attendants at Burlington. In 1836, finding 
its location no longer convenient for the majority of its 
congregation, the church decided to move to the center and 
did so, rebuilding and modernizing the building. There its 
services were continued for many years, but with a dimin- 
ishing membership and congregation. A roll of members 
made in 1866 shows one hundred and fifty members ; one in 
1877 sixty-three; and a later one, undated but apparently 
made in 1887, thirty. Soon after this the local organization 
was abandoned, some of the people going to churches in 
other towns, and some casting in their lot with the Congre- 
gationalists. In 1892 the church building was sold to the 
town for a town hall."" 

After the Seventh-Day Baptists had discontinued their 


services, the church was occasional!}' used for preacliini;- b)' 
Baptist ministers of the rei^ular order. Mr. Marks says 
that from 1825 to 1835 preachini^ was held at this place 
fortnightl}', and that a Baptist church was formed in con- 
nection w ith the one at New Hartford. Since the ruin of 
the old buildint^ there ha\'e been, so far as I know, no ser\'i- 
ces of the Baptist church in Burlington. 

I do not know of any Episcopal serxices in BurliiiL^ton 
before the Revolution. Chippins' Hill was, however, a 
stronghold of Episcopalians, who attended service in a little 
church in Bristol opposite the Congregational church. The\' 
were practicall}- all Tories in the war of the Revolution. 
In 1777, seventeen of them were in Hartford county jail, 
accused of being " highly inimical to the United States and 
refusing to act in defense of their country"; these men 
petitioned the General Assembl}' for relief, and after they 
had declared that they had been misled by "one Nichols, a 
designing church clergyman," and were now con\-inced of 
their error, they were permitted to take the oath of allegi- 
ance and go at liberty.-' Three of these, George Beckvvith, 
Abel Frisbie and Levi Frisbie, and I think a fourth, Jared 
Peck, were Burlington men. The Learnings, at whose house 
preaching was Had in 1776, were afterward notorious and 
active Tories. 

After the war "two Episcopal clergymen of the name of 
Blakesley preached in the south part of the town ; after 
them the Rev. Mr. Nichols about 1790."'' This Mr. Nichols, 
the " designing church clergyman " who had led so many 
Bristol and Burlington people into toryism, was Rev. James 
Nichols of Waterbury, who carried the missionary work of 
his church into all this section of Connecticut. In 1792, the 
Episcopalians of Bristol. Plymouth, Harwinton and Burling- 
ton united to organize the little church near the corner of 
the four towns which is still called East Church.' ' From 
1809 to 1 8 17 Rev. Roger Searle was rector of this church. 
In his diary, now in the diocesan archives, there are two or 
more entries of holding service at the house of Sc}uire 
Marks in Burlinirton. 


About 1810 a Universalist society was formed liere, and 
there was occasional preaching of the tenets of tliat churcli. 
The exemption certificate of Ezra Way shows that even in 
1797 there was at least one Universalist dissenter. In 1833 
or 1834 this sociey was reorganized, and for a j'ear or two 
there was occasional preaching again." ' 

I do not know that any church building was ever built in 
Burlington, except the three already mentioned, the Baptist, 
Congregational and Methodist. 

Until 1818 the Congregational church was in the fullest 
sense an established church in Connecticut. The General 
Assembly regulated its proceedings, and even its staiulard 
of faith, and its meeting-houses were built, and its ministers 
paid, by public taxation. By the time that Burlington was 
settled, the strictness of this regime had been somewhat 
relaxed, and persons were released from the ecclesiastical 
taxes of the established church, if they presented certificates 
that they belonged and contributed to some other church. I 
have already read the vote of the society to exempt the 
Seventh Day Baptists from minister's rates upon their fur- 
nishing a proper certificate. But such certificates were often 
used to evade taxation by those who really had no church 
connection at all, and the society did not mean to be hood- 
winked. The following vote resulted on February 14th, 
1780: " Voted, that the Ratemakers shall make Rates on 
all Denominations Except Churchmen and Baptis Bringing 
a Setificet sufficiently excuted By a none Elder and 'that 
the Collector shall tak a Coppy of all such setificets and 
carry them to the Prudential Committee and if they approve 
of the sd setificets then it shall answer to tlie societ}s 
Treasury so much as them Persons Rates are." 

Some of these certificates are very interesting, and 1 will 
read a few of them. 

To the Clark of the Sociaty of west Britton in Farmington. 
These Certify that Mr. Stephen Tayler, Sam'll J Andrus Rabort Simmons and 
Stephen Chapman Jr Doo Profess themselves to be strict Congregational, and 
have inroled there name with the Clark of this sociaty and Desired there names 
May be in Roled in your sociaty as such. 
Given Pr order of the Chh 

Certifyed Pr the Thomas Bacon Elder 
Simsburv Mav 2nd 1786." 


This certificate recalls the fact often forgotten that at 
this time the standing order of Connecticut had, by the 
operation of the Saybrook Platform really ^become Presby- 
terian, and its churches were indifferently called Con- 
gregational or Presbyterian. A few, however, had 
consistently protested against this departure from the old 
usages, and there were occasionally little groups of dissenters 
calling themselves strict Congregationalists. 

"Bristol August i6th 1797 This may certify to whom it may concern that I do 
not believe and cannot assemble with the Calvinism in the Temporal sense but I 
subscribe and assemble and believe in the Calvinism in the Spiritual sence or 
universalism or the Doctrines of Christ and his Apostles that is who is the Propi- 
tiation for our sins and not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world. 

Ezra Way." 

"Bristol Dec 7 1801 This may certify that I mean to go to hear the Church and 
wish to be excused from paying rates to Mr. Miller. 

Lury Brockway." 

"Feby 1802 Joel Barnes brot a kind of writing wishing to manifest that lie 
wishes to join with any order that have Charity Universal and Benevolence for all 
mankind. Test Wm Richards Clark." 

"Bristol Novr 24th 1800 this may Certify that I do join a denomination called 
Methodist who support a Preached Gospel by Free Donation. 

Ezekl Bartholomew." 

"Bristol, January 2d 1S04 This may certify that profess myself a Quaker and 
would wish to have the privilege of the law for that order. 

Christopher Stone." 

After several pages of such expressions of varying dis- 
sent, there is this pathetic entry in the handwriting of the 
clerk : " I cant spend time to write them all out at full 
length I have so many of them." Evidently the orthodox 
unanimity of the old Puritan days was thoroughly broken 
up in Burlington, as in fact it was all over Connecticut at 
this period. 

I have spoken of the Tory element, but it was a very 
small minority. It would require a great deal of labor to 
make a list of the men of West Britain society who served 
on the colonial side in the War of the Revolution. Before 
the actual conflict broke out, Deacon Stephen Hotchkiss 
(who lived near the tavern and meeting houses in " Shin 
Hollow") was a member of the committee of relief and of 
correspondence, appointed at the mass meeting in Farming- 
ton after the passage of the Boston Port Bill. Pres. Porter 


sa}'.s that P'armin^ton furnished men enou;^h to make a full 
regiment, and 1 have no doubt that the West Britain parish 
contributed its, quota. Almost every able-bodied man in 
the community doubtless served, going to the field when a 
special campaign was on, and returning home when the 
stress of need was over, as was the general custom in 
this war. 

The printed State Records of December, 1776, mention 
Captain Abraham Pettiboue, Major Simeon Strong, Privates 
Benjamin Belding and Abraham Gillett as having b en with 
the arm}' in New York. Abraham Pettibone was afterwards 
Major and Colonel in the militia, and as Colonel Pettibone 
he undoubtedly shared with Parson Miller and Squire Hart 
the distinction of chief men in the community. Col. Petti- 
bone had several brothers and sons, and they were probably 
the wealthiest family in West Britain. It is said that Petti- 
bone land at one time extended the entire width of Burling- 
ton, from Harwinton to Farmington, bounded on the north 
by Simsbury (now Canton) and New Hartford. 

Others of whose Revolutionary service as of^cers or 
musicians I find record are : captains, Titus Bunnel (printed 
Titus Brumel in the official " Record of Connecticut Men 
in the Revolution "), Joseph Bacon, Asa Yale ; lieutenant, 
Stephen Hotchkiss, Jr.; ensign, John Fuller; quartermaster 
and sergeant, John Gillett ; surgeon's mate, William Rich- 
ards ; corporals, Asa Clark, Thomas Brooks; drummer, 
Ichabod Andrus ; fifer, Giles Humphrey. This list may not 
be complete. Sergeant John Gillett is said to have been 
present at the execution -of Major Andre. Many others 
commonly wore military titles ; but I think that they were 
mosth' acquired in the militia service. As two militia com- 
panies used to be maintained in Burlington, the north and 
the south conipan)-, militia captains and lieutenants became 
pretty common. 

It is often said that the women bear a lieavier burden of 
sufTering from war than do the men ; but their names are 
not so often handed down to be honored therefor by future 
generations. The monument in your cemeter}', as well as 


the name (if the Bristol chajiter oi the Daughters of the 
American Revolution, commemorates the tragic history of 
Katherine Gaylord, who was born in Harwinton in 1745, 
married Capt. Aaron (laylord of Bristol in 1763, went with 
him to the Wyoming Valley in 1776, and after he perished 
in the massacre there in 1778 came back on foot with her 
children to Bristol. About 1800 she removed to her daugh- 
ter's home in the west part of Burlington, and died there 
i n 1 840. - ' 

In 1780 New Cambridge and West Britain societies had 
grown to be of substantially the same size ; the road from 
either society to P'armington was long and difficult, and the 
two neighboring societies felt strong enough to assume the 
responsibility of independent township together, if not 
alone. I do not know what preliminary conferences had 
been had, but, in December, 1780, both societies passed 
resolutions favoring their being incorporated as a single 
town. New Cambridge claimed the big brother's share of 
honor, however, and stipulated that it should always be 
called the first society, and have the sign-post within its 
Hmits. West Britain, as a self-respecting community, 
naturally declined this unequal union. In 1781 New Cam- 
bridge voted to " make another tryal with West Briton." A 
series of votes were also passed about building a town house, 
probably to stand midway between the two villages, and 
form an impartial place for town meetings. But nothing 
more is heard about the project until the Spring of 1785, 
when both societies again voted to ask for town incorpor- 
ation, and sent their agents to the General Assembly to ask 
for the necessary act. This was granted, with a provision 
that the town meetings should always be held alternately in 
the two societies. On June 13th, 1785, the first meeting of 
the town of Bristol was held in the meeting-house in New 

There was an evident desire to preserve exact equality 
between the two societies. The first selectmen were Joseph 
Byington, Elisha Manross and Zebulon Peck for New Cam- 
bridge, and Simeon Hart and Zebulon Frisbie for West 

Britain. Joseph Byington of New Cambridge was also 
chosen town clerk. The majorit)- of town ofificers having 
thus gone to New Cambridge, Simeon Hart of West Britain 
was chosen the first representative to the General Assembly. 
After that the representative to^he May. session was almost 
without exception sent from West Britain, and the one 
to the October session from New Cambridge. For ten 
years Abraham Pettibone and Zebulon Peck were regularl)- 
sent in alternation except for a single session when Simeon 
Hart replaced Col. Pettibone. ' ' ^ 

The place of the town-house was partly supplied by the 
Ezekiel Bartholomew tavern, which stood on the east side of 
the road between the two societies, very near to the town 
line. Here the town ofificers used to meet and transact the 
town business, though the town and freemen's meetings 
were always held in the meeting houses. 

But people found it not very much easier to go from 
New Cambridge to West Britain, or vice nersa, than it had 
been to go from either to Farmington. The West Britain 
people pointed out in their petition for a separation that to 
ride from here to the top of Federal Hill in Bristol through 
winter drifts, attend a meeting which, with the slow methods 
of voting then in use often lasted till night, and then return 
over the long and hilly road home, made of town meeting 
day, which was then held in December, a pretty strenuous 
day. The roads were not so good as they are now, and 
nobody went by rail or by automobile. 

After only ten years of union the West Britain society 
voted " that said Sociaty Would Wish to be incoperated 
into a Distink Town from New Cambridge," and the town- 
meeting also voted for a separation. But the General 
Assembly did not grant the request, and the two communi- 
ties had to endure their union fifteen years longer. At 
length in 1806, the demand presented by a strong commit- 
tee from both societies was granted, and a bill passed incor- 
porating the two towns of Bristol and Burlington. I have 
never known of any reason for the selection of either name. 

In accordance with this act, on June i6th, 1806, one 


hundred years ago to-day, the people of Burhngton met in 
town-meeting in the old meeting-house. Col. Abraham Pett- 
ibone had been designated as the moderator by the act of in- 
corporation. Caleb Matthews, Jr., was chosen town clerk, 
Jesse Fuller, Theodore Pe1;tibone and Eber Smith, select- 
men. In 1807 Simeon Hart was elected town clerk, and 
held that office for eleven successive years. 

So this community, having passed its infancy tied to the 
apron-strmgs of old Farmington, mother of towns, and its 
youth under the slightly irritating guardianship of Bristol, 
came to its full maturity as the independent, self-governing 
town of Burlington. 

At the census of 18 10 it had a population of 1,457, 
thirt}'-nine more than Bristol, and more than it has had at 
any census since. There was a steady decline of population 
shown by every census till i860, when the number was 
1,031 ; since there has been some recovery, the figures of 
1900 being 1,218. 

Meriden is celebrating to-day her one-hundredth anni- 
versary. When your ancestors met in their first town- 
meeting, the people of Meriden were also holding their first 
meeting. And Burlington was the larger town by more 
than two hundred. At Meriden to-day the constant theme 
will be, " What a change from the farming community of 
1806 to the manufacturing city of 1906!" Here we rather 
note the continuance of the old conditions. Then farming 
was the sole general occupation, and to-day the same is 
substantially true. During the intervening hundred years 
manufacturing establishments have been started here which 
have been the germs of great establishments in other com- 
munities. Burlington has been the spring from which great 
streams have taken their rise. But her rugged hills, turning 
the currents of travel and transportation to the north, east 
and south, have prevented her from herself gathering the 
harvests of her own watering. 

The old Hartford and Litchfield stages did in fact pass 
through Burlington : it is in the direct line between the two 
terminal towns, and stages paid more attention to distance, 


and less to grades, than do canals or railways. Se\'enty 
}-eai's ago it was the great e\ent of the day to see the four- 
horse stage pull up at the center and change horses, while 
the travelers would dismount and stretch their legs at the 
nearby tavern. The stages at first run from the center 
southeast through "Shin Hollow" toward Farmington ; but 
they continued to run after the railway station had. been 
established in northeast Burlington. Mrs. Warren Bunnell 
recalls that after her marriage in 1858 she used to take the 
stage to the station, and that after discharging its passen- 
gers there, it passed along the river road to Unionville and 
Farmington. J. C. Hart sa}^s that the stages began run- 
ning "about 1798."'"' 

The West Britain grand list of 1798, of which I have a 
copy, shows two oil-mills, those of Catlin & Co., and of 
Williams & Co., one at each end of the town, and five saw- 
mills. Zebulon Frisbie had potash works north of the old 
Simeon Hart house, which must have been operated be- 
fore 1800. Col. Pettibone and Levi and Abel Frisbie also had 
tanneries in the north part of the town ; and there were the us- 
ual complement of grist-mills and distilleries, furnishing what 
were then the chief necessities of existence for animals and 
men respectively. In the south part of the town Gideon 
Smith and Bliss Hart had a clover mill for cleaning the 
seed, afterward run by Caleb N. Matthews. 

On the stream which runs nearly north and empties near 
the railway station was the earliest manufacturing of any 
considerable size. Here was a carding mill run b)- Holbrook 
& Frisbie, from Southington, and two clock shops built b)' 
a man named Frost. Both of these must have been run- 
ning very soon after 1800, if not earlier. Billy Gajdord a 
little later had a carding mill on the same stream. The 
Holbrook & Frisbie mill passed into the hands of Calvin 
Sessions, and for a number of years he not onl}- carded the 
wool, but manufactured and colored the cloth. This Ses- 
sions plant did not employ over six or eight hands, but a 
hereditary genius for manufacturing seems to have been 
handed down frcMii it. Two of Calvin Sessions's sons were 


John Humphre}' Sessions and Albert J. Sessions, who estab- 
hshed themselves in Polkville, and afterward in the center 
of Bristol, in the trunk hardware business. This has grown 
to be the largest trunk hardware business in the United 
States; and the great enterprises of the Sessions Foundry 
Co., and the Sessions Clock Co., hav^e been farther products 
of the Sessions manufacturing genius. Another son of 
Calvin Sessions, Samuel Sessions, and a son-in-law, Isaac P. 
Lampson, established the great business of the Lampson & 
Sessions Co., at Cleveland, Ohio, and became prominent in 
the business and public life of that city. 

Cloth making was also carried on early in the century at 
Whigville, b\' Thomas Lowrey, who made plain woolen 
cloth, and also satinet, in the factory since known as the 
EL. K. Jones shop. 

Hotchkiss & Fields had perhaps the largest manufactur- 
ing business which has ever been carried on in Burlington, 
employing thirt}' to fifty men in manufacturing clocks, both 
cases and movements. Their case shop was near Joseph 
Scheidel's, their movement shop near Warren Bunnell's. 
This concern used to send the adventurous young men of 
Burlington to the South peddling their clocks ; and they 
came back with entertaining stories of how, with traditional 
Yankee shrewdness, and perhaps with a touch of that over- 
shrewdness wdiich used to be symbolized b}^ the wooden 
nutmegs, they had taken fabulous prices for Burlington 
clocks from the unsophisticated planters of the South. This 
firm failed about 1845J; William Alford afterward occupied 
the movement shop for the manufacture of springs with a 
half-dozen hands; about 1855 the factor}' burned, and he 
with his workmen went to Bristol into the employ of 
Col. Dunbar. 

A Burlington map in my possession dated 1855 shows 
near this site, D. F. Butler, dock factory , and C. B. Svovill, 
spol'c factor]]; and near the railway station II. Wilkinson, 
screw driver and mincing knife factory, and Fenn ct? Gay- 
lord, children's fancy carriage factory. I have spok-en of 
Thomas Lowrey's cloth manufacture in the old shop west 


of Whigville street. After his day Alfred and David 
Lowrey made clocks at this shop ; Stever & Bryant built 
also for clock manufacture the factory on the east side of 
the street afterward used by Don E. Peck as a turning shop, 
and now by D. E. Mills as a storehouse. Don E. Peck 
himself for a time made children's carriages here. 

English & Welch built a factory about the middle of 
the century near the Whigville bridge, from which traces of 
the old foundations may now be seen, and began there the 
manufacture of clocks. This firm did not long remain in 
Burlington, and the factory passed to a Mr. Payne, who 
continued the manufacture of clocks there for a time ; but 
the enterprise thus started was the basis of the great 
English and Welch enterprises that have been so important in 
the industrial history of Bristol and New Haven. Gov. 
James E. English, Harmenus M. Welch and Pierce N. 
Welch of New Haven, and Elisha N. Welch of, Bristol were 
all in the line of descent from this Burlington firm ; and 
Welch Hall on the campus of Yale University represents a 
part of one of the fortunes begun here, as the beautiful 
Methodist church in Bristol recalls the beginning of the 
Sessions manufacturing career on the stream east of here. 

When the canal was built through Plainville and Farm- 
ington, and the new method of sending freight to market 
drove out the older method of teaming, Bristol and P'orest- 
ville, with their shipping facilities at " Bristol Basin," as 
Plainville station was then called, began to distance Burling- 
ton in the competition ; and this tendency was increased 
when the railroad from Hartford was built through Bristol. 
Bristol's clock factories began to grow mightily, and Bur- 
lington's to move away. Many Whigville clock-makers 
moved to Forestville, when English & Welch bought the 
large J. C. Brown factory there, and Forestville for a time 
became quite a Burlington settlement."' 

The Upson Nut Company, of Unionville, Conn., and 
Cleveland, Ohio, is another important manufacturing busi- 
ness in which Burlington can claim a maternal interest. Mr. 
Andrew S. Upson, its President, was a Burlington boy, and 


Mr. Charles H. Graham, though not a native of BurHngton, 
lived here during boyhood in the Graham place, just north 
of the old Marks place. 

J. Broadbent & Son of Unionville is another manufac- 
turing concern which made its small beginnings here, in the 
northeast part of the town. 

So far as I know, the only manufacturing now carried on 
in Burlington is by the two turning factories, that of D. E. 
Mills at Whigville, and that of William Hartigan at the 
north end. 

In 1 86 1 came the great summons to Burlington, as to 
every town and vallage in the land, to show the strength of 
its manhood, and to make its great offering of life and 
treasure for the preservation of the nation, A member of 
your committee has gone over for me, name by name, the 
list of soldiers from Connecticut in the War of the Rebel- 
lion, as given in the adjutant-general's printed roster, and 
has made a list of those who are entered as residents of 
Burlington. The total number is sixty, and of that number 
forty-three enlisted in i86t and 1862, before the system of 
drafts and bounties began. The number accredited to 
Burlington in the adjutant-general's ofifice for the last two 
years of the war exceeds that appearing on this list ; but that 
credit may include substitutes who were not Burlington men, 
and may include some who were never actually mustered in 
to the state's regiments. I have thought it better not to in- 
clude these uncertain names. I do not know that any of 
those who enlisted from Burlington are still living here, except 
Charles B. Scoville. Marvin L. Gaylord and Willard F. Sess- 
ions are living in Bristol, and others in other places. 

Twelve are recorded as having died in the service ; of 
these Edmond Rogers was killed in action ; Gideon S. 
Barnes and Linus E. Webster died of wounds received in 
action ; five died prisoners, Martin Murphy and Philip 
Stino at Andersonville, Erastus S. Bacon at Charleston, Hoyt 
H. Bradley at Savannah, and George Wilkinson at Florence, 
S. C; Franklin W. Hubbard, Edson W. Spencer, Lewis H. 
Johnson and Roland D. Benham died in the service, 


probably of disease or exhaustion. How many brought 
home hves broken by suffering and exposure, no statistics 
can tell. 

Croffut & Morris, in their history of Connecticut in the 
War of the Rebellion, give the amount expended by each 
town for bounties, premiums, commutations and the support 
of families. The sum stated for Burlington is $20,250. 
This was at the very lowest period of Burlington's popula- 
tion, and this expenditure is about $20 for every man, 
woman and child. Of course that is merely the expendi- 
ture from the town treasury, and. takes no account of the 
share of the town in the enormous state and national tax- 
ation. These figures suggest to us of a later generation the 
crushing load which fell upon the generation before us ; and 
surely they may demonstrate to all of us that Burlington, 
even at the time of her greatest decline, was not niggardly 
either of life or treasure. 

It is said that when a Westerner once looked in dismay 
at the rocky hills of Vermont, and asked, "What can any 
one raise here?" the Vermonter replied, "We raise men." 
As I have been studying the history of Burlington, I have 
been especially struck by the number of men of influence 
and power that Burlington has produced. 

Jonathan Miller's study was a most fruitful seed-bed for 
that raising of men. Five boys of his congregation were 
Lucas Hart, Romeo Elton, Leonidas Lent Hamline, Luther 
and Heman Humphrey. Lucas Hart, a son of Scjuire 
Simeon Hart, entered the Congregational ministry, was 
ordained pastor at Wolcott, but unhappily died two years 
later from illness brought on by too close application 
to study. ■^' 

Luther Humphrey \vas born in West Simsbur\' (now 
Canton), but his father, Solomon Humphrey, moved to Bur- 
lington in 1785, when Luther was only two years old. 
Solomon Humphrey was a poor man, and lived in a log 
cabin, near where Mrs. Ellen Alderman now lives. He 
began his studies with Mr. Miller, but later graduated at 
Middlebury College, Vermont. He was ordained to the 


ministry, worked sixteen years for the Missionary Society of 
Connecticut, and afterward had several parishes in Ohio and 
Michigan, and died in Windham, Ohio, in 1871, at the age 
of eiglity-eiglit."" 

Romeo Ehon was born in Burhngton in i/go. His 
father, WilHam Elton, Hv^ed within a few rods from this 
spot. He graduated at Brown University in 181 3, entered 
the Baptist ministry, and served in the active ministry until 
1825, when he was called to the chair of Latin and Greek in 
his alma mater. He spent two years in Europe fitting him- 
self further for this professorship, and performed its duties 
with great distinction till 1843. He then went to England 
and lived there twenty-six years, when he returned to this 
country and again became a pastor in Boston, and died in 
the work of the ministry in 1870. While in England, he 
was one of the editors of the Eclectic Review, a magazine 
of selection from European literature. He seems to have 
had considerable wealth (which we may assume he did not 
acquire either in the ministry or in teaching), and when he 
died he endowed a Professorship of Natural Philosophy at 
Brown, a similar chair at the Columbian University, Wash- 
ington, D. C, and a scholarship at Brown, which is still 
existing and known as the Romeo Elton scholarship.'" 

Leonidas Lent Hamline was born in Burlington in 1797. 
His father's name was Mark Hamline, and he lived (I think) 
at the top of the hill south of the Dr. Mann house. The 
bishop's biographer says : " His education was at first 
directed with a view to the Congregational ministry," and I 
am sure that that statement points us again to Parson 
Miller's study. He finalK' chose the law, however, and for 
a time practiced law successfully at Zanesville, Ohio. In 
1828 he became a member of the Methodist church, was 
soon afterward licensed to preach, and for sixteen years he 
was a circuit-rider in Ohio, widely known for his unusual 
eloquence and ministerial power. In 1844 he was a delegate 
to the General Conference of his church, that fateful confer- 
ence in which the northern and southern churches separated 
on the question of slavery. Mr. Hamline made one of the 


most important speeches on the northern side. Two 
bishops were to be elected by this conference, and Hamhne 
was elected as the bishop from the north ; he held that 
office until he was obliged to resign it on account of ill- 
health. He died in Mount Pleasant, Ohio, on March 23rd, 
1865. Few American names are more honored in the 
Methodist church than that of Bishop Hamline ; a typical 
figure of the rugged, circuit-riding, pioneer preacher, who 
made the Methodist church such a power in the growth of 
the West. Flood & Hamilton's Lives of the Methodist 
Bishops says that he was " a gigantic thinker, a great theo- 
logian, a princely orator, and one of the most efficient of 
revival preachers."'' 

But perhaps the most distinguished of any of the sons 
of Burlington was Heman Humphrey. Another son of 
Solomon Humphrey, he was six years old when his father 
moved to this parish. He was obliged to earn the money 
for his collegiate education, and taught school for a while in 
the East school, when he was only about fifteen. Afterward 
he hired out as a farm laborer to Gov. Treadwell at Farm- 
ington. Doubtless he came there into some contact with 
bkoos, and with cultivated men, a most stimulating experi- 
ence for a boy of his intellectual ambition. He was finally 
able to enter Yale, and graduated there in 1805. He en- 
tered the Congregational ministry, and was pastor at Fairfield, 
Conn., from 1807 to 18 17, and at Pittsfield, Mass., from 
1817 to 1823. Professor Tyler of Amherst says of him: 
"His labors in both these places had been blessed with re- 
vivals of religion of great power. He was already 
recognized as a pioneer leader in the cause of temperance." 
In 1823 Amherst College, then but two years old and in 
great danger of extinction, urged him to take its presidency, 
and he consented against the earnest protest of his Pittsfield 
church. He was President of Amherst for twenty-two 
years, and it can hardly be questioned that he did more 
than any other man to give Amherst its intellectual, moral 
and religious character. When he came there, there were 
126 students; thirteen years later it had 259, and was the 


second American college in size, Yale then being first and 
Harvard third. 

A story is told of him that illustrates his possession of 
the ready and genial wit so valuable in dealing with college 
students. When he went to the platform for one of his first 
lectures, he found tied in his chair a large and angry goose. 
Naturally the students were on the alert to see what the new 
Prex would do. "I am very glad to see, young gentlemen," 

The Oldest House Im Bukliing io.%. The ■• Web^ster" House, built before 1780 
Six Generations in a Direct Line Have Occupied This House. 

said he, "that you are cooperating with the trustees in their 
efforts for the college. They have tried to engage pro- 
fessors and tutors for all the requirements of the college; but 
I see that some student finds none of them just what he 
needs, and has provided a tutor able to meet the require- 
ments of his intellect." He received a hearty round of 
cheers from the students, was at once voted to be all right, 
and the unhappy student who had smuggled in the goose 
was so ridiculed that he finally departed. 

President Humphrey married Sophia Porter, sister of 
the elder Noah Porter, and had ten children. Three of his 


sons were ministers, two of them Professors of Theology, 
one, James, a prominent law3'er in Brooklyn, and for four 
years Member of Congress from that city. "Of the 8o8 
graduates from Amherst during his ministr}-, forty became 
foreign missionaries, and 438 preachers of the gospel."'' 

Try to estimate the aggregate work of those five Burl- 
ington boys, think of the hundreds of new currents of 
influence which flowed out from them to all parts of ihe 
world, and who shall say that the pulpit and study of Parson 
Miller in old Burlington was a narrow and paltry field. 

Burlington's contribution to American life seems to have 
been peculiarly in the educational field. Besides Professor 
Elton and President Humphrey we may recall Simeon 
Hart, third of that name, whose school for boys at Farm- 
ington rivaled during his life the reputation of Miss Porter's 
school for girls. He was a Yale graduate of the class of 
1823, was town clerk, justice of the peace, and many times 
representative in the legislature, and was the first treasurer 
of the Farmington Savings Bank. Dr. Porter said at his 
funeral that he had had fourteen hundred pupils under his 
instruction. His pupils erected a monument to his memory 
in Farmington cemetery. 

Nor are all your noted educators of past generations. 

Bernard Moses, born in Burlington in 1846, graduated 
at the University of Michigan, took his doctorate at Heidel- 
berg, and was appointed Professor of History and Political 
Economy in the University of California in 1876, which 
chair he still occupies. In 1900 President McKinley 
appointed him a member of the Philippine Commission. 
He is the author of a considerable number of important 

Many of you know Miss Ludella Peck, a native of Burl- 
ington, now Professor of Elocution in Smith College. 

I may also mention your young townsman, Otis G. 
Bunnell, Yale '92, who has been engaged at Yale and else- 
where teaching. 

Jennette Lee (Mrs. Gerald Stanley Lee), the well-known 
novelist and essayist, is a descendant of Solomon Humphrey, 

n{ \vli<ise illustrious sons I have already made mention. 

The first Burlington physician was Dr. Peres Mann; his 
house was opposite Parson Miller's, and still stands there. 
I am told that for a time the manufacture of Shaker bonnets 
was carried on there. Dr. Mann was away during the War 
of the Revolution. I have heard one tradition that he 
served as surgeon on board a patriot privateer, and another 
that he was in France. Both may be true. His son-in-law, 
Dr. Aaron Hitchcock, succeeded him in practice and in the 
occupancy of his house; and A/,v son was Judge Roland 
Hitchcock, of the Superior Court of Connecticut. 

Lieut. David Marks was a leader among the early Epis- 
copalians of Burlington. His son, William Marks, who was 
equally prominent in the local Methodist church, was at one 
time a member of the state senate from this district. Of 
his sons, one, Rev. David L. Marks, became a Methodist 
minister, and was at one time Presiding Elder in the New 
York East Conference. Another son was a lawyer in 
Durham, N. Y., until he lost his health and came home to 
his father's house; another was a successful merchant in 
Naples, N. Y. 

C. R. and R. A. Marks, prominent lawyers and leading 
citizens in Sioux City, Iowa, are descendants of David and 
William Marks. 

Chauncey Brooks, son of Capt. Chauncey Brooks, having 
often gone to the South on these clock-peddling trips of which 
I have spoken, was finally invited to enter a firm with whom 
he had been accustomed to deal, became wealthy and the 
first president of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. 
His son, Walter, was once Republican candidate for Gover- 
nor of Maryland.^* 

Doubtless longer research, or a more intimate familiarity 
with your town, would enable me to greatly prolong this 
list of men who have become leaders in different parts of the 
country. But surely enough has already appeared to show 
that rugged Burlington, like rugged Vermont, has raised 
7nen; men of character as solid and enduring as Chippin's 
Plill and Johnnycake Mountain, men who by their teaching 


and influence have transmitted to thousands of others, some 
of whom may never have heard the name of BurHngton, 
the spirit of loyalty to truth, of service of mankind, of fear 
of God, which they imbibed here in the hills of Burlington, 
and which I trust these hills may never cease to perpetuate 
and give forth. 

And here let me quote once more from Parson Miller's 
dedicatory sermon: "On a subject in which we're all so 
deeply interested * * * it is impossible to know where to 
stop, but from the consideration that our time for pursuing 
it is exhausted. It would require a much longer time than 
can now be allotted to do justice to the subject." 

General Authorities and Foot-notes. 

Printed material for the history ot Burlington is rather meager. It includes 
Judge Holaud Hitchcock's "Burlington," in The Memorial History of Hartford 
County, Vol. II; Noah Porters "Historical Discourse," delivered at the bi- 
centennial celebration ot Farmington, 1840, has a series of appendices, of which 
note N, by William Marks and Simeon Hart (the third) is devoted to Burlington; 
the periodical ' Connecticut," published by the Missionary Society of (Jonn., 
for January, 1897, ivol. 7, no. 1) has a very useful account of the Congregational 
church and ministers of the town. 

Attention is called to an article "Old Burlington," by Seth Keeney, in the 
Bristol Press, July 9th, 1896, and to the Burlington supplement to the Bristol Pn ss, 
June 14th, 1906. A file of this newspaper is in the Bristol Publij Library. 

Manusrript material includes the Congregational society records; the Metho- 
dist church records, in the hands ofF. J Broadbent of Unionville; the town 
records ot Burlington, Faimington and Bristol; and a very full and valuable 
account of the houses and families of Burlington in the beginning of the 19th 
century, written by J. C. Hart in 1871. The original of this ms. is in the New 
England Historic Genealogic Society's collection in Boston; a copy made by the 
kind permission of this society is in the Bristol Piiblic Library, and to it has been 
added a copy of a ms. of Mr. Hart givuig a personal sketch of Rev. Jonathan 

Authorities tor particular statements will be found in the foot-notes. 

(1) Porter's Hist. Disc, p. 27; "Bristol's Centennial Celebration," Historical 
Address, p. 30, and frontisi^iece map with accompanying explanation, which 
gives the actual survey and allotments of the land in Bristol. 

(2) Porter's Hist. Discourse, p. 41. 

(8) Memorial Hist, of Hartford County, vol. 2, p. 180. 

(4) State Records (printed) vol 1, p. 261. 

(5) Id., pp. ;^0, 143. 

(6^ Farmington Land Records. 

(7) Colonial Records (printed) vol. 14, p. 378. 

(8) Society records, vote of Dec, 1789. 

(9) State Records (printed), vol. 2, p. 2.54. 

(10) Porter's Hist. Disc, note N, p. 74; also J. C. Hart ms., pp. il, 1,5, of the 
copy in the Bristol Library. 

(11) J. C. Hart ms., p. 24 2it supra. 

(12) See Appendix A. 

(13; See a certified copy on the society recc<ids, following entries of Dec. 
1783. Mr. Marks's account of this church (Porter's Hist. i3isc., note N, p. 72) is 
shown by this record to bo quite erroneous. 

(14) Porter's Hist. Disc, note N, p. 73. 

(15) J. C. Hart ms., p. 77. 

(16) The jjamphlet "Connecticut," referred to under General Authorities, 

(17) Porter's Hist. Disc, note N, p. 72. 

(18) Bristol Press, July 9, 1896. 


(19) J. C. Hartms.,p. 29. 

(20) This account is chiefly taken fi-om the Methodist church records. 

(21) State Records (printed), vol 1, p. 259. 

(22) Porter's Hist. Disc, note N, p. 73. 

(23) See, as to this early Episcopal church, "Historical Address," delivered 
by Epaphroditus Peck at the 150th anniversary of Ist. Cong. Ch., Bristol, also, 
"Moses Dunbar, Loyalist," by Epaphroditus Peck, Conn. Magazine, vol. 8, pp. 
129, 297. 

(24) Porter's Hist. Disc, note N, p. 72. 

(25) "Katherine Gaylord," by F. E. D. Muzzy. 

(26) Porter's Hist. Disc, note N, p. 74. 

(27) The account of early manufactures I have taken in part from the J. C. 
Hart ms., in part from the recollections of Warren G. Bunnell and other residents. 

(28) See the pamphlet "Connecticut," referred to above. 

(29) Same as (28). 

(30) See "Connecticut," as above; also Appleton's Cyclo. of Amer. Biography 

(31) Appleton's Cyclo. of Am. Biog.; Am. supplement to Encjc. Brit.: Flood 
& Hamilton's Lives of the Meth. Bishops. 

(32) Appleton's Cyclo. ot Am. Biog.; Tyler's History of Amherst College; 
Funeral sermon by J.Todd, in Yale Univ. library. 

(33) Appleton's Cyclo. of Amer. Biog. 

(34; Seth Keeney's Bristol Press article; also the J. C. Hart ms. 




Petition for Incorpation as a Society. (Ms. Records in State Library. 
Ecclesiastical. Vol. XIV, p. 33 1.) 

To the Honorable the General Assembly of the Colony of Connecticut to be Con- 
vened at Hartford on the Second Thursday of May A Dom 1774. 

The memorial of Titus Bunnel Ebenezer Hamblin and the rest ol the sub- 
scribers hereunto all living and being Settled upon the Five westerniost Tier of 
Lotts, west of the reserved Lands, so called, & North of the Society of Mew Cam- 
bridge in the Town of Farmington in the county oi Hartford humbly sheweth — 
That there are about Seventy Five Familys now settled upon said Lands, more than 
fifty of which are of the standing Denomination in this Colony, the rest are 
some of them Professors of the Church of England & some of them such as are 
called, Saturday Men, — That the List of the whole amounts to about £3500, and 
that of the standing society to more than £2500, That a few of us have been an- 
nexed to the society in Harwiuton, three to New Cambridge and the rest belong 
to the First Society m Farmington — the distance from which, together with ye 
Difficulties of Transporting our Familys and Children, especially in the Winter 
season, it being from Six to Eleven miles to sd First Society, and Four & Five 
to said Harwinton Society for such as are annexed to the same, renders it almost 
Impossible for us to Enjoy Society privileges or take benefit of Gospel Ordinances 
and a preached Word, (so desirable and essential to tlie welfare of ourselves & 
children) — Wherefore we most humbly pray your Honors to take our distressed 
Case in your wise Consideration & to form it establish us and all living upon the 
sd Five Tier of Lotts north of the north line of sd Cambridge Society to the north 
line ot sd town '»f Farmington, to be an Intire Ecclesiastical Society, with Powers 
and Privigles — or if your Honors in your Paternal Wisdom should think it not yet 
best to goe so far in our behalf, that at least your Honors would allow us to hire 
Preaching for ourselves & Convene together and wholly free it Excuse us from 
paying anything further to the several societys whereunto we at present belong, 
either for preaching, SchoUing or Iniilding of meeting houses, or any other pur- 
pose whatever, so that we may in some Sort be in a way to obtain those Easnients 
and advantages that are common to our Brethen round about us or otherwise giant 
us Relief as your Honors in your wisdom shall think fitt and we as in Duty ISouJid 
shall ever pray. 

Dated at Farmington, the 7th day of April, A. Dom 177L 

Joseph Bacon, Jun., Amos Doud, Zebulon Cole, Samuel Brockway, 
John Lowry, Timothy Hand, Edward Ward, John Panks (V), Jacb Robi)ords, 
Amos Tubbs, Elisha marshall, Heniy Darrin, Oliver Darrin, Jacob Eobboids, Jun., 
David Eobords, Elisha Stedman, Joseph Bacon, Se., Cornell Marks, Joel Parks. 
Admiah Perks, Gideon Belding, Ezra Doud, Mispah North, Asa Yale, Asa Yale, 
Juner, Joe Whitcome, Stephen Brownson, Abijah Gillit, John Pliel])s, Ebenezer 
Domman (VJ 


Petition of Seventh-Day Baptists for Exemption From the Sunday Law. 
(Ms. Records in State Library, Ecclesiastical, Vol. XV, p. 205.) 

To the Honorable Jeneral aSembly Setting at harlord in may 1783. 

Wherein their is an iinhapey misnnderstandiug amongst the people in this 
State Espesially in the Society of west brittm Conserning the Sabbath it is accord- 
ing to the Laws of this State olfencive to Do any Servil Labour on the lirst Day i>f 
the week and their is a number in the Society that holds that by the athority of 
the Sacred Scripture they are obliged to keep the Seventh Day of the week as a 
Sabbath and they hold that they are Ci mmanded to Labour Six Days and tnat of 
God and to Rest thu Seventh Day from all their Labour, Exedus 20 Chapter and 
9 and 10 verses and as the times is very hard and Dificalt in this our Day that it 
Calls very Loud on us to improve all the time that Gods allots us to maintain our 
famalis and pay the Cost of this unuatrial war that we have had and our Request is 
that the honorable General assembly may point out Some way that we may obay 
the Commands of God and not infring on the Laws of this State for we mean to be 
Subject to the Sivil athority in Everything that Dose not intring on the Laws of 
God and Consciance and we being advised by Some of the athority of this State to 
make application to the aforesaid honorable General assembly that we may have 
the Liberty to Do our Labour that needs to be Done on oiu- own posessions, not 
to intrude on our Neighbdurs that keep the First Day ol the week for a Sab- 
bath, we hold our Selves a peasable people and act out of Consciance towards 
God and man we are many of us poor and need improve all our time to maintain 
our famileys and to pay our part of the Cost of the war as aforesaid but to be De- 
privd sf one Sixth part of our time it is very hard and that is all that Some of us 
has to Live on we pray that you may act with wisdom and Do as you would be 
Done unto making our Case your own which is the prayer of yoiu- humble ser- 
vants &c 

Hope Covey, John Davis, Jonathan Palmeuter, William Coon, (or Cook), John 
Leivis, EHsha Covey, Amos Burdick, Stephen Lewis, Jared Covey, John Crandall, 
Benjamin Lewis, Jonathan Davis, Robert Burdick, Amos Stillman, Samuel Still- 
man, Hezekiah West, Silas Covey, Roger Davis, Benjamin West, Junr., Cary 
Crandall, Bryant Cartwright, David Covey, Nathan Covey, Thomas Davis, Amos 
Burdick, jur., Elias Wilcox, Ebenezer Burdick, Lewis Burdick, Joseph Palmenter, 
Jonathan Palmenter, Phinehas Palmtnter, Benjamin hall, Benjamin West. 

Negatived May lySj.